“This can’t be the project of one curator or one director.”
Naomi Beckwith, Incoming Deputy Director and Chief Curator, Guggenheim Museum

Welcome back students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends! We have a lot to be thankful for in the Spring 2021 semester. For starters, the January term was a time for recharging, but also for acquiring new skills and knowledge. Six students participated in an educational exchange with the University of Arkansas and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art by taking the intersession course American Craft: Material Culture and the Contemporarytaught by Dr. Jenni Sorkin (UCSB) in collaboration with the exhibition Crafting America, which opened this month. Students and staff participated in the innovative January Salon, Finding Common Ground: Blockchain and Cultural Heritage, with specialists collaborating from Art & Antiquities Blockchain Consortium and presentations by Blockchain for Social Impact, ConsenSys and the High Museum of Art’s new curator of African art, Lauren Tate Baeza. 
As the previous year concluded, we saw a number of new, high-profile positions for African and African American museum and visual arts professionals as well as a flurry of articles signaling the increased pressure to diversify museum staffs, boards and collections. Naomi Beckwith confirmed that the transformation in the art industry our program is designed to lead is not about diversity work alone, “This has to be an ongoing project written into the new formation of institutions. I think this is one of the primary shifts from diversity work—which is just ‘get more in’—to equity work, which is about restructuring how we think and how we function to make diversity a by-product of that.” Indeed, for sustainable structural change, it involves equity, access and inclusion, together with a growth mindset to signal a new way of thinking and doing.

We have a lot in store this spring beginning with a Distinguished Lecture by Franklin Sirmans, Director of the Pérez Art Museum Miami on February 17th; a virtual screening of the HBO documentary Black Art in the Absence of Light; Virtual Career Week, March 8-12; Black Art Futures Design Thinking Competition with Sotheby’s Institute of Art – NY; and our final Distinguished Lecture of the year on April 21st with Morehouse alumnus, Dr. Richard J. Powell, whose latest book, Going There: Black Visual Satire (Duke University Press, 2020), will be the subject of a virtual group read in March and April.

Stay safe and connected,
Dr. Cheryl Finley
Director and Distinguished Visiting Professor
Department of Art & Visual Culture, Spelman College

The second Atlanta University Center Art History + Curatorial Studies Collective Distinguished Lecture of the academic year, A Way Forward: Re-Envisioning Miami's Art Museum, with Franklin Sirmans, Director, Pérez Art Museum Miami, presents a timely conversation about the museum's unique perspective from the center of the Americas. Mr. Sirmans also will address his dynamic career as a curator and museum director, which has positioned him to use the museum as a catalyst for world-changing initiatives!  

Registration is now open, so join us!  Wednesday, Feb. 17th at 6:30 p.m. EST! 


Art Historian Sorkin Teaches Intersession Class With Atlanta University Center + Crystal Bridges

The School of Art in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences welcomed art historian Jenni Sorkin as visiting professor for the January intercession course American Craft, Material Culture and the Contemporary in collaboration with Atlanta University Center Art History and Curatorial Studies Collective and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
"For three years now the January intersession class has been the art history program's way of kicking off the new year with an especially exciting course offering," said Lynn Jacobs, art history program director for the School of Art. "But this year has been even more exciting than ever as we partnered with the AUC Art History and Curatorial Studies Collective for the first time, welcoming a cohort of their students to join the U of A students for a fascinating exploration of American contemporary craft by Jenni Sorkin."
Read the press release here!

Join us LIVE + ONLINE for one-on-one questions:
WED, Feb 24, 6pm-7pm EST
WED, Mar 10, 6pm-7pm EST - WED Mar 31, 6pm-7pm EST

Join a live info session!
Learn more about the Early College Program!
AUC students, faculty and staff, join us for a private information session with Jabari Ajao, Diversity, Inclusion, Community Engagement Associate at Bonhams!
Find out about the 18-month training program for students interested in the auction business!

AUC students, faculty and staff, please join us on Thursday, February 18th at 6 PM EST! We have arranged a private information session with Jabari Ajao, Diversity, Inclusion, Community Engagement Associate at Bonhams to learn more about the program. This full time, full benefits trainee program offers specialized mentorship and was developed for recent college graduates to get exposure to the auction business! E-mail Rachel Brown, for the registration code!


a read:
‘Black Art: In the Absence of Light’
Reveals a History of Neglect and Triumph

An HBO documentary explores two centuries of art by African-Americans,
and the path they forged for contemporary Black artists.

a read:
After a Year of Reckoning, US Museums Promised to Implement Diversity Policies. Workers Are Still Waiting to See What That Means

Few museums are willing to be fully transparent about how much money they will devote to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
a read:
Sisters in the Struggle:
Leslie King Hammond and Lowery Stokes Sims

The scholarship, writing, art, and curatorial practice of lifelong friends Leslie King Hammond and Lowery Stokes Sims
a watch:
Carrie Mae Weems, The Kitchen Table Series 1990 (EP. 11)

The Artsy Window Classroom is a series of talks and art history classes highlighting the work of artists and creatives of color.
College Art Association
Lauds Black Artists and Art Historians
At the annual College Art Association meeting this week, African and African American artists and art historians were recognized with prestigious awards: 
  • Deborah Willis is the recipient of the 2021 Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing on Art
  • Nicole R. Fleetwood received the 2021 Frank Jewett Mather Award for Art Journalism and the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award for Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration, Harvard University Press, 2020
  • Salah M. Hassan is the recipient of the 2021 Distinguished Scholar Award
  • Charles L. Davis, II received the 2021 Charles Rufus Morey Book Award for Building Character: The Racial Politics of Modern Architectural Style, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019
  • Samella Lewis received the Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement  
  • Simone Leigh received the Distinguished Feminist Artist Award
View the full list of awardees here!
  • Elizabeth Gowans, Studio Museum in Harlem, Director’s Office - I look forward to putting into practice what I have learned in my time as a member of the AUC Art Collective and gaining a deeper understanding of the arts. This opportunity will not only expose me to museum administration, it will show me how institutions persevere in times of crisis” – Elizabeth Gowans, Spelman College, C’2023
  • Edith Courtney, Southeastern Museums Conference 
  • Christian Reeder, Souls Grown Deep Foundation in partnership with the High Museum of Art
Are you interning this spring?
Let us know by e-mailing Lauren Jackson-Harris,
The Journal of Art History and Museum Studies (JAHMS) is pleased to invite undergraduate students to submit papers exploring the theme of “Art and Resilience” for our inaugural Spring 2021 issue. JAHMS is a student-edited, undergraduate peer-reviewed journal that welcomes intercollegiate scholarly research of students across the globe. The deadline for submissions for this issue is March 7, 2021 at 11:59 EST
For more information about our call and to submit, please see this link:
Read the Call for Papers for “ART AND RESILIENCE” here!
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The Atlanta University Center Art History + Curatorial Studies Collective is the first and only undergraduate program in the nation specifically designed to educate the next generation of visual arts professionals of color.

With the generous support of the Alice L. Walton Foundation, we offer a major in
Art History and minors in Curatorial Studies and Art History to students at
Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College and Spelman College.

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